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  1. The Messerschmitt Me.410 Hornisse - Airframe Album 16 A Detailed Guide to The Last Zerstörer (inc. Me.210 & Me.310) ISBN 9781912932139 Valiant Wings Publishing The Me.410 had a long and tortured history, beginning life as the Me.210 that was supposed to be a replacement for the ageing Bf.110 in the Zerstörer role, but the initial design suffered from some serious aerodynamic issues that made it an utter pig to fly as well as dangerous, with later improvements leading to the Me.310 that was still unfavourably rated due to the lack of effectiveness of the changes, forcing a more drastic set of re-designs that were given another new name to distance it from its abysmal ancestors. Thus the Me.410 came out of the dog house and was considered worthy of production, despite it still being far from flawless even with new slatted wings, extended fuselage and more powerful twin DB603A engines. It was an interesting design, and incorporated new developments, such as the side-mounted barbettes that could pivot out from the fuselage under remote control of the rear crew-member, and automated leading-edge slats. Because of the delays while the potentially lethal aerodynamic characteristics and other kinks were ironed out, the aircraft didn’t see service until 1943, despite development beginning in 1939, which was a long gestation during wartime. It was used as a fighter and night bomber, having internal storage for some munitions, but as the design had improved the space became insufficient, so shackles were added to the wings to carry four more small diameter bombs. As usual with German WWII aircraft, so many variants were planned that the engineering effort was spread too thin, although over a thousand airframes were made by the end of the war. There were cannon armed variants, one fitted with a 50mm Bordkanone, and even an option for carriage of a torpedo. The Book The sixteenth volume of the popular and interesting Airframe Album series by Richard A Franks details this attractive-looking heavy fighter, its versions, dead-ends and dangerous issues. It spans 162 pages and is perfect bound in an A4(ish) portrait format. If you are familiar with the series you will know what to expect, with the book broken down into sections, as follows: i. Introduction A brief narrative history of the development and operational use of the Me.210 and Me.410 by the Luftwaffe, as well as those used by other Axis nations. 1. Technical Description Detailed coverage of construction and equipment 2. Evolution – Prototype, Production and Projected Variants 3D isometrics illustrating differences between variants 3. Projected Development of the Me.410 A series of period diagrams to show how the development of the Me.410 was envisaged in the May 1944 report by Messerschmitt 4. Camouflage & Markings Colour side profiles, notes and photographs 5. Model A build of the 1:48nd scale Me.410B-2/U4 from Meng by Steve A Evans. Appendices I Me.210/Me.410 Kit List II Me.210/Me.410 Accessory, Mask & Decal List III Bibliography As usual with Valiant's books, the pictures are both high quality and unusual, with lots of "behind the scenes" shots of production, testing and their ultimate capture by the Allies, plus plenty more pictures of the sole museum example in Europe (Cosford to be precise) – one of only two left in the world - for those needing reference pictures. I always find the 3D Isometrics very interesting to quickly view the differences between variants, especially as I have the memory of a goldfish. My favourite picture is of the Bordkanone equipped aircraft propped up on what look like breeze blocks during weapons testing. Very Heath Robinson. I also didn’t know about the plans for the revised canopy and the mounting of a larger 75mm BK in the D variant. Conclusion Valiant Wings publish a good book about interesting subjects, and this is one that tweaked my interest right away, as I’m a big fan of the 410. If you're a modeller, aviation buff or even just interested in engineering, this will make an interesting read, which you'll come back to again when you need it for references. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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